Ray Wylie Hubbard will be in OK City this Friday night. My son sent me an email letting me know of the event. I guess I am getting old because I really balk at spending $20.00 a head on hearing Ray Wylie. I knew Ray when he was just Ray Hubbard, boy from Dallas. He and his two friends, Wayne Kidd and Rick Fowler had a trio back in the late 60’s - early 70’s in Red River. They called themselves The Three Faces West and had a little place called The Outpost where they entertained nightly. Before the Outpost, they sang for their supper at one of the local cafes and drove jeeps (guided tours) in RR. Rick and Ray rented a room at our lodge during the summers. I was about nine, maybe ten years old, and they were teenagers at the time. We also had several girls living with us who were waitresses at various cafes in town. I called these girls my summer sisters. They often dated Rick, Ray, and Wayne, so I had a crush on the R,R&W too.
R,R&W had another high school friend named Michael Murphy – that was before he added Martin as his middle name. He spent some time in RR, and they all shared songs that they had written. Some of you may not know it, but M M wrote a medley of songs called "The Ballad of Calico" that was recorded by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition back before Kenny was all that popular. It was through R,R&W that other musicians showed up in Red River – guys like Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P. Nunn, Bob Livingston, Steven Fromholz and yep, Neil Young who sang at my wedding reception. The Red River entrepreneurs learned pretty quickly that these young musicians were a way to bring people to the valley and therefore make money. Bill and Bonnie Hearne lived and sang for many years in RR. My brother was their driver and bass player for a while (good thing they were blind ‘cause Craig is a sorry driver). They are still the king and queen of folk music if you ask me. When people like Lyle Lovett join them on an album, I would say they were the deal. TZ Wright was a regular for a few years in RR. He actually sang "The Wedding Song" at my wedding, and it was his band that Neil Young joined in with at the reception. Bill Hearne’s nephew, Mike Hearne, has a fantastic band called South by Southwest. They have been around Northern NM for years now. Mike and band also played with Michael M Murphy for a short time. I should also mention my ex-sister-in-law; Tish Hinijosa was another musician that did quite well in RR. She sang with Mel Tillis in her early days and did some music with Emmy Lou Harris. I will admit she is a very talented musician. There were probably other famous musicians that made their way through RR at some time – it was just that sort of town.
Ray Wylie Hubbard moved on to bigger and better things by the mid-70’s. A musician named Steve Howard took his place at the Outpost. Steve is still in NM and has a great album out. Rick Fowler still lives in RR and sings and paints for a living. In my opinion, Rick is actually the most talented of all the musicians mentioned above. Wayne Kidd is also still in Northern NM. He is the associate pastor and music leader at Faith Mountain Church in RR. M M Murphy lives in Taos, NM, as does Mike Hearne and his band, South By Southwest. If you are in the area, definitely try to catch Mike somewhere. If you are in Santa Fe, you can hear Bill Hearne, but Bonnie has been in poor health recently and does not play with him as much. They still like to do the Kerrville Folk Festival in May.
My brother and I grew up listening to my dad’s Bob Wills records but not much else in our house. Our music interests were greatly influenced by the musicians hanging out in the mountains – so much so, that Craig became a musician, married one, and is now an entertainment lawyer in Austin. Craig still introduces me to new and good music, which I love him for. Our growing up years in RR were lots of fun. My mom thought growing up in the mountains was ideal for us kids. In lots of ways it was, but every mom should consider sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll still go together.